Appeals from decrees of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, No. 583 of 1969, in cases of Richard Borden v. Paul C. Baldwin, James A. Cochrane, Russell B. Jones et al.; Paul C. Baldwin, James A. Cochrane, Russell B. Jones et al. v. Rose Tree Fox Hunting Club et al.
Robert B. Ely, III and Peter Hearn, with them Alfred H. Wilcox, J. B. H. Carter, and Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, for appellants.
Patrick T. Ryan, with him Stewart Dalzell, for appellees.
Daniel W. Shoemaker, in propria persona, for intervenor, appellee.
John G. Williams, in propria persona, with him Shumaker, Williams & Placey, for intervenor, appellee.
Bell, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Barbieri, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Mr. Justice Jones took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
Before us for disposition are three interrelated appeals which grow out of the same factual background, a dispute among officers and members of a fox hunting club concerning the distribution of certain funds allegedly placed in trust by the club. We are asked to rule on the propriety of the lower court's action in sustaining preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer to the petition to enforce distribution of the trust and in refusing to grant one of the parties here leave to intervene in that action.
For purposes of identification we shall hereafter refer to the Rose Tree Fox Hunting Club and its officers who are defending in this suit as "appellee"; the original petitioners who instituted this action in equity as "appellants"; appellant Richard Borden who sought and was denied leave to intervene in the proceeding as "Borden" and intervenor Shoemaker as "Shoemaker".
Appeal No. 186 was taken by appellants from the decree of the Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, of Delaware County sustaining the preliminary objections and dismissing their petition. The appeals in Nos. 176 and 177 were taken by Borden from the aforementioned decree and from a decree of the lower court denying him leave to intervene in this action.
The Rose Tree Fox Hunting Club is an organization whose corporate existence dates back to the Nineteenth Century. Its purpose as a nonprofit corporation, set forth in the 1881 Delaware County Charter Book, is "to encourage riding and athletic sports among the members by the maintenance of a country resort for meeting . . . in Delaware County" and its principal activities are fox hunting and the conducting of horse
races. To further these purposes, the club had, since 1907, maintained a clubhouse on a ...